Herbert Hoover's seven years as Secretary of Commerce raised that department to a level of prestige and influence it has not known since. In the prosperity of the 1920s, real wages rose rapidly, the wage-earners' standard of living began to resemble that of white-collar groups, and all that remained, it seemed, was to replace the traditional antagonism between employer and worker with a system that would give the latter a voice in plant decisions. In this climate, “welfare capitalism” and company unions, encouraged by Hoover's department, flourished for a time. Professor Zieger shows that Hoover never realized that the wage-earner could have no effective representation through company-sponsored schemes. By the late 1920s, some academic experts posited the virtual demise of the labor movement unless it found a means of transcending the limitations that the circumstances of the New Era and its own weaknesses imposed.